‘Sadhana Who Stalked Her?’ by Spandana Chakradhar is sure shot an influential thriller. Well, after reading and having grasp over the story, you can decide whether it was a psychological or suspense or some other mystery. But before we get into the story, we need to understand that the title of the story says a lot about the book, such as the name of the lead character and about a dangerous crime called stalking.
This is a story of Sadhana – the protagonist. She is beautiful, elegant, sober, and possesses a few more extra qualities which are rare to find in all women. Since she is beautiful and charming, men queue up for her, quite obviously. So, at this point if you think a beautiful girl is always at the vantage point, well you need to read this novel quite carefully.
The story starts at Hyderabad, there Sadhana is struggling in life with her mother Laxmi, and the main reason is that they are financially suppressed. And over it, Laxmi wants her to get married as soon as possible. Anyway, she leaves Hyderabad and migrates to Delhi in a new job, which promises good hike and growth and all. But little did she know that her life is going to be changed forever. New city, new job, is a typical struggle in India – she starts her life by getting into a ladies paying guest (PG). As the story chugs out, one by one, many characters begin making place in the story. To cut the list short, Asha, Abhi, Manav, Vani, Anirudh, and Baba, are some with whom she chances upon almost every day.
Strangely, someone begins stalking her. Even the bigger surprising fact is that she doesn’t realize the perils initially and most of the time people around her found her inert and ineffective. Is she insane…maybe or maybe not? The author tried to portray her image otherwise by showing Sadhana inclined towards suspense novels and horror movies. But it does not mean that people reading suspense novels go insane, as a side effect.
Around the same time, these two guys Manav and Abhi develop love feelings for her. That’s quite of a shaky moment in the novel, as it puts Sadhana not only in dilemma but also, tidbit, spoils her. Soon Manav and Abhi get into tussle to get her love, though they both are friends but this lady loosens their equation.
Anyway, stalking is the concurrent theme in the novel. Next, we see that Sadhana moves to Krishnakunj – a big, beautiful, and palatial home – where other characters join her.
Change of place brings no respite, she intermittently experiences stalking. Abhi and Manav grow worried about her safety, as both are in love with her, though Sadhana has yet to decide and wait as who is going to be her partner? Entry of these two men, make the novel look like a love triangle. However, at its core it remains a solid suspense thriller.
Krishnakunj is a well-connected and well-guarded house, but not free from stalking. In fact, intensity of stalking grows there. With so many people around, in one well-connected home, how can a stalker act like a shadow? There is something that needs to be unveiled…soon….before it’s too late. Stalking is not a light felony, it is dark in its form, and when it begins taking toll on Sadhana, you would pray for her safety, and also think that the two men in the novel have futility in full bloom. Sadhana’s life reaches on the verge of shattering…she became fed up all…of all the solutions and technology she was using to catch the glimpses of the culprit. The only option left was, self-defense, and in that she achieves all the glory, and this novel fulfills its objective.
The author has spiced up the overall backdrop of the novel to make it a truly suspense novel by molding the lead character’s attributes, like her habit of reading horror novels, carelessness, and so on. Another great aspect of the book is that with time Sadhana grows familiar with stalking. However, later it turns out be her strength in the guise of self-defense, as she finally takes to face and end it. That’s the temerity of the lady. Mid way, there is a revelation of the stalker that shocks everyone, however the problem does not solve there. The story advances, and her stalker shows no mercy. Every time a stalker is caught, you feel as the story is over, but there remain many pages to read. And the same time, you feel that something is missing….the clues need to be arranged once again. But well before Sadhana meets her final stalker, she needs to endure a lot of privation and the route is treacherous.
As a reader, you will remain excited as to know why there is a stalker behind her...and for what…how he/she manages to grab her most of the time. This proposition will make you interpret at every juncture where you thought that now it is the end of the stalking.
Other than being high on entertainment quotient, the novel addresses a very common issue found in India – safety of women. As in one of the chapters it is mentioned, "No place is safe for women. They need to learn to defend."
Spandana nursed her words carefully that it simply kept the narration subtle and brilliant. Also, she has methodically batched and stitched characters and settings and locations to deliver a near-perfect suspense novel, otherwise in contemporary locations like Delhi metro city, it is bit tough to weave a thriller. Nothing comes openly and the author has made a point as not to spoon feed – so the more you read, the more you wish to arrive at the final criminal. However, that’s a sort of anxiety get developed when you are with a good and classic suspense novel. All in all, it is a worth investing time and money.